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Global Terrorism from a Contemporary Perspective

GlobalTerrorism from a Contemporary Perspective

Terrorismis described as an approach to political ferocity committed by stateand non-state actors alike. In general, terrorists used differentmeans of terror acts on their targets, such as they induce painthrough assassinations, bombings, or kidnappings to meet theirobjectives. Precise inspirations differ, but the target remainsreliable: hearten the objectives or/and their allies to take part inconducts wished by the terrorists, for example, leaving conflict to,or care for, an inescapable organization or retreating groups from adisputed range. Terrorism has developed into an appropriate globalinfluence, which has an impact on numerous countries as well asstates globally. There are various types of terrorism thus far eachcenters one key issue. At the outset, the terrorism definition is theact of using violence and force to compel other people to makepreferred actions and decisions. In many cases, there are ideologicaland political associations behind whichever terrorism act.Nevertheless, the core philosophy prompted by terrorism remainscreation and installation of fear amid the targeted group. However,people who practice terrorism employ tactics, which create fear ofindividuals hereafter those who practice terrorism, seek to impact ondecisions, which will aid them to accomplish their goals by thecreation of fear among persons and they do this typically due toreligious and political enthusiasm. Terrorism instances in thepresent world have been on the rise because of technologicalprogressions as well as globalization. These kinds of features havecaused the terrorism redefinition and made slight transformations tothe conformist understanding (Sciullo 561).

Terrorismhas continued to be a thorny issue in the current world. There aremany narratives about this issue. Therefore, despite the fact thatthe U.S. and other western countries have witnessed none or someattacks in the contemporary world, this paper asserts that the fightagainst terrorism is supposed to be given a new-fangled focus so asto form global peace than retaliatory attacks for “Fightingterrorism.”

TheContemporary Terrorism

Thepresent world is dominated by the terrorism constructionscharacterized by the Islamic State, (ISIL and ISIS). It is hard toscrutinize the growth and success of the alleged Islamic State withno consideration of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ensuingSunni insurgency in which at its peak in 2007, 1000 Iraqi citizenswere killed every day, consistent with some estimations (Tharoor 18). The doomed de-Baathification order, as well as the closure of theIraqi Military in the Coalition Administration, left many Sunni Iraqimen jobless, sidelined, as well as armed. However, for theirindividual part, the time the Sunni political management rejected the2004 constitutional elections and provisional congress they madetheir political impotence durable and official. Nevertheless, withthe nation overflowing with caches of trivial arms and bombings, therevolution fast turned out to be a staid security problem for theoccupation of the U.S. and coalition forces (Sciullo 561).

Since2014 June when ISIS acknowledged itself as the novel IslamicCaliphate, it has regularly been defined as a newfangled, morefrightening form of acknowledged dangers. An actual media operationhas been directly associated with ISIS’ capability to spreadviolence. The argument runs, in case they can employ propaganda toscheme a positive picture, as well as appease the parts they control,then ISIS will have the established capability of embarking into theexport of violence (Tharoor 18). The question remains, how do ISISand other contemporary Terrorist groups get funds?


Theaspect in which terrorists are financed attracted more attentionfollowing the 9/11 attack. However, the origin of militia groups likeAl-Qaeda has continued to be contentious since individuals andorganizations that give funds to these groups do it in privacy. Ithas been alleged by top officials in the U.S. administration thatSaudi Arabia remains the biggest sponsor of these organization.Furthermore, this country fails to show attempts in its support forthese groups. It is alleged that, Saudi Arabian wealthy merchants andorganizations finance terrorist groups andit has been hardfor the U.S to persuade Saudi Arabian administrative bureaucrats tohandle the issues.

Thereluctance by Saudi Arabia to address financiers of terrorism hasbeen attributed to the idea that staff members in Saudi Arabia treatterror financing coming from the country as leverage. Other countriesthat are suspected of financing terrorism include Kuwait, Qatar, andthe UAE. Wealthy citizens from these countries have been accused offinancing terrorist group against NATO troops in Afghanistan (Khalid4). It has also been alleged that fund-raisers from terroristorganizations like the Taliban regularly visit the UAE with the aimof laundering money. The U.S considers Saudi Arabia to be a crucialfinance base for terrorist organizations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba,Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas etcetera. These terrorist groups obtainfinancial aid from Saudi Arabian administration yearly particularlyfor the period of Haj and Ramadan celebration (Khalid 8).

Terroristgroups along with their financiers make the most of the high numberof Muslims that go to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage for the period ofHaj and use the occasion to launder money, exchange funds, and obtainmoney for charities from organizations approved by theadministration. A number of Saudis charity organizations financiallysupport these groups with the aim of financing a terroristorganization, while others are persuaded by radical Muslimorganizations to offer money, which is later on utilized in financingterrorist activities.

Anothersource of funding for terrorist organizations is illegal activitieslike selling drugs. Apart from selling drugs, terrorist groups haveraised funds from other illegal trades. For instance, there areallegations that, terrorists who took part in the World Trade Centerbombing raised funds through selling counterfeit T-shirts to NewYorkers (FBI.gov Para 2). Terrorists who carried out the Madrid trainbombing in 2004 are said to have raised funds by trafficking drugsand selling counterfeit CDs to finance their operations. It is alsobelieved that terrorist organizations like Irish Republic Army andHezbollah generate funds by selling counterfeit goods. For instance,in 2002, federal agents in the U.S busted a methamphetamine syndicatethat was said to funding Hezbollah (FBI.gov Para 4).

TheRevolutionary Army Forces in Colombia sell cocaine to finance itsoperations while the poppy plant that is abundantly grown inAfghanistan is said to be a primary source of funds for terroristorganizations (FBI.gov Para 5). It is said that Al-Qaeda alsobenefited from the poppy trade in Afghanistan before they left thecountry after the Taliban government was toppled in 2001. Legitimatecompanies are also a source of finance for terrorist organizations,and some terrorist organizations own legitimate businesses that makeprofits. These legitimate businesses are also used for moneylaundering by terrorist groups. In 2001, the NYT documented that anumber of businesses that includes chains of honey shops acrossPakistan and the Middle East were owned by Osama bin Laden.

TheU.S financial intelligence came up with a new list that showedcountries that are suspected of financing terrorist activities andengage in money laundering. The report by the U.S financialintelligence also indicated that North Korea and Iran are seriouslyfinancing terrorist organizations, and urgent counterterrorismagainst these countries was needed. The U.S also advised thatfinancial institutions should take extra precaution when dealing withgroups in countries like Yemen, Syria, Tanzania, Kenya, Ecuador, SaoTome, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Vietnam among others (FBI.gov Para 6).Another important aspect of the issue of financing terrorism is howterrorist organizations transfer funds from donor countries to theirrespective organizations. Experts on terrorism have indicated thatterrorist organizations mostly move funds through the regular bankingsystem or through shell companies.

Themodern financial system is so complex and tracing funds meant tofinance terrorism has proved to be a challenge. The terrorist alsoused the traditional Hawala agent, which is found throughout Asia andother Muslim countries across the globe to transfer funds. Theseagents are primarily employed in countries that lack elaboratefinancial system like Somali. This made British banks to ban tradingwith Hawalas is Somali. The Hawala money transfer system onlyrequires a password for one to transfer funds from one part of theworld to another.

BeforeSeptember 11, Al-Qaeda was a broke organization that depended on afew financial supporters. Osama did not have extensive financialresources or businesses that he used to finance Al-Qaeda aspreviously thought. The Al-Qaeda generated the money they used forSeptember 11 and other terrorist activities through mosques,charities, and donors. According to CIA estimates, Al-Qaeda wasspending about 30 million dollars annually in sustaining itsoperations before the 9/11 attack. This money was solely raisedthrough donations. Some donors knew the kind of activity their moneywas financing while others did not know. Currently, donors are stillthe primary source Al-Qaeda funds, but the terrorist organizationcannot raise funds the way it used to because of the death of severalkey members of the group who facilitated the donations.

Theterrorist attack in 2003 that took place in Riyadh seems to havedrastically lowered the funds Al-Qaeda was receiving. After theattack, the Saudi government reinforced donor security, which mighthave deterred donors in the country from giving money to Al-Qaeda.The law enforcement agents in Saudi Arabia have reduced the number ofAl-Qaeda donors. However, experts have observed that despite thereduction in funding, Al-Qaeda is continuing to fund terroristoperations with ease. This is because the amount of money required tocarry out a terrorist attack is small. Some experts have disagreedwith the allegation that Al-Qaeda is also involved in the drug tradeas a way of raising funds. This is because investigations that havebeen conducted after 9/11 has failed to find evidence that confirmsthe rumor that Al-Qaeda is involved in drug trafficking.

Expertsin terrorism have also noted that some funds raised in the U.S mighthave ended up in the hands of Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups. Anunderground network of terrorist in the U.S has provided funds to aforeign terrorist. However, evidence indicates that the fundterrorist organizations may be obtaining from the U.S are notsubstantial (Giraldo and Harold 12). Financial institutions thatenable a terrorist to withdraw funds that they use for theiroperations are often located in countries terrorist organizationsoperate from. The major countries that terrorist organizationsoperate in are normally economically weak with limited resources.These countries allocate a significant percentage of their budget inmaintaining their military, and there are allegations that some ofthe military finances go directly to terrorist organizations.

SaudiArabia’s military budget has also allegedly been used in thecreation of Taliban in Afghanistan and in funding its activities.Moreover, the citizens of Saudi Arabia get involved in terrorism thanany other citizens from Arabic countries. Fighting terrorism alsorequires cutting the sources of funds for terrorist organizations.The need to deal with terrorist financing came to public attention in2001. In an attempt to deal with terrorism financing, the U.Sgovernment passed the U.S PATRIOTIC Act. The act was also meant toaddress the issue of money laundering by terrorist organizations.Terrorism funding and money laundering dealt with by the PATRIOTICact are two different concepts. Money laundering refers to theprocess where the money generated through criminal activities is madeto appear legal by being integrated into formal financial systems.

Onthe other hand, terrorism financing does not focus on where the moneycomes it investigates what the money is going to be used to finance.Studies conducted by the U.S have shown that terrorist organizationsuse fraud activities of low value, but which can be done in highvolumes to finance their operations. After the 9/11 attacks, the UNSecurity Council also passed a resolution that stipulated thatcountries should take measures to cut the sources of finance forterrorist organizations. The Financial Action Task Force, which is anintergovernmental organization published a list of recommendationsthat governments were expected to follow in dealing with terrorismfinance.

Someof the things governments were required to do are enactinglegislations that specifically criminalized financing terroristactivities financial institution should report any suspiciousactivities to the government governments should cooperate intracking organizations and individuals who finance terroristactivities and the government should also ratify the UN Convention onthe funding terrorism. Governments around the world are willing totrack down financiers of terrorism, but they face certaindifficulties (Biersteker and Eckert 17).

Someterrorist organizations raise their funds locally, which make itdifficult to trace. For instance, the funds used in the Britishbombings were exclusively raised inside Britain, and the funds didnot transit through international borders. This made it difficult forauthorities to trace the global link of this terror groups (Kaplan7). Enforcing the new laws governments have developed to combatterrorism has also proved to be tough. For example, implemented theanti-laundering and anti-terror policies have shown it to be veryexpensive for financial institutions because of a large number ofsuspicious activities that are reported every year (Kaplan 9).


Terroristorganizations obtain their funds mainly through donations fromsympathizing countries, organizations, and individuals. Saudi Arabiahas been mentioned as the largest financier of terrorist activities.Moreover, individuals and charitable organizations in the countryalso finance terrorist organizations. Other sources of funds forterrorist organizations include illegal trade like selling drugs andcounterfeit goods. However, some terrorist groups exclusively raisefunds from domestic sources. Since 9/11, most governments have passedlegations against terror finance and money laundering, but theselegislations still face challenges. One of the challenges is thatterrorist organizations typically change their methods of obtainingfunds to stay ahead of government detection mechanisms.


Biersteker,Thomas J., and Sue E. Eckert, eds. Counteringthe financing of terrorism.Rutledge, 2007.

FBI.gov.&quotTerrorism.&quot FBI.FBI, 2016. Accessed on November 13, 2016https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism

Giraldo,Jeanne K., and Harold A. Trinkunas. Terrorismfinancing and state responses: a comparative perspective.Stanford University Press, 2007.

Kaplan,Eben. “Tracking Down Terrorist Financing.” Council on ForeighnRelations, 2006 , April 4. Accessed on November 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.cfr.org/terrorist-financing/tracking-down-terrorist-financing/p10356

KhalidKhawaja, Farooq. “Terming the National Action.”Daily Times, July 15, 2016. Accessed on November 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/14-Jul-2015/nap-and-terrorism-financing.

Sciullo,Nick J. &quotGhost in the Global War on Terror: CriticalPerspectives and Dangerous Implications for National Security and theLaw, The.&quot DrexelL. Rev.3 (2010): 561.

Tharoor,Ishaan. &quotISIS or ISIL? The debate over what to call Iraq’sterror group.&quot TheWashington Post18 (2014).